Outdoor Education and Camps Policy
To explain to our school community the processes and procedures Glen Waverley South PS will use when planning and conducting camps, excursions and adventure activities for students.
This policy applies to all camps and excursions organised by GWSPS. This policy also applies to adventure activities organised by GWSPS, regardless of whether or not they take place on or off school grounds, and to school sleep-overs. This policy is intended to complement the Department’s policy and guidelines on excursions, camps and adventure activities which all Victorian government schools are required to follow. GWSPS will follow both this policy, as well as the Department’s policy and guidelines when planning for and conducting camps and excursions.
The school’s camping program enables students to further their learning and social skills development in a non-school setting. Camps may have a cultural, environmental or outdoor emphasis and are an important aspect of the educational programs offered at Glen Waverley South Primary School. The school aims:
- To provide all children with the opportunity to participate in a sequential camping program.
- To provide shared class experiences and a sense of group cohesiveness.
- To reinforce and extend classroom learning.
- To provide a program that delivers skills and knowledge that may lead to a lifelong involvement in worthwhile leisure pursuits.
- To provide a program that promotes self-esteem, resourcefulness, independence, leadership, judgement, cooperation and tolerance.
Planning process for camps and excursions
All camps and excursions will comply with Department planning requirements. School Council approval is required a minimum of 1 month prior to camp. The documentation provided to School Council must include:
- the purpose of the camp and its connection to student learning.
- a list of all staff members attending.
- a minimum of 1 staff member trained to level 2 first aid or above.
- verification that all adults attending camp have a current Working with Children Check.
- full details of the camp including itinerary, emergency plans, risk management, camp contact details, camp location map.
- bus details - all camp travel will be in buses fitted with seatbelts.
Further details for School Council will be held at the office, including:
- a record of the names and family contacts for all students and staff.
- copies of the parental consent and confidential medical advice forms for those students on the excursion.
The nominated teacher in charge should:
- know the exact location of students at all times including during travel.
- maintain a record of telephone contacts for the supervising staff.
- know who the school contact person is and their phone number.
- have a copy of the names of family contacts for all students and staff on camp.
- have copies of the parental approval and medical advice forms for students on camp.
- maintain a copy of the completed approval pro-forma including all attachments submitted to the school council.
- have submitted a notification of school activity using the Student Activity Locator online form three weeks prior to the camp.
Part of this planning process includes conducting risk assessments, to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to minimise the risks associated with each proposed camp or excursion. Glen Waverley South PS’s risk assessment will include consideration of arrangements for supervision of students and consideration of the risk of bushfire activity in the excursion location. In the event of a Code Red Day being announced, excursions or camp activities in effected locations will be cancelled or rescheduled. Planning will also cover arrangements for cancelling, recalling or altering the camp or excursion for any other reason.
GWSPS is committed to ensuring students with additional needs are provided with an inclusive camps and excursions program and will work with families during the planning stage, as needed, to support all students’ attendance and participation in camp and excursion activities.
The Camping Program may include:
- Foundation - extended day at school.
- Year 1 and 2 - extended day at school and may include an outing, an early tea and/or a sleepover.
- Year 3 and 4 - three day camp alternating between bush and beach environment each year.
- Year 5 and 6 - five day bike riding camp or three day team building camp experience.
The school will conduct a sequential outdoor education program from Foundation to Year 6 and all students will be given the opportunity to participate.
GWSPS follows the Department’s guidelines in relation to supervision of students during excursions and camps. All excursion staff (including parent volunteers) will be familiar with supervision requirements and the specific procedures for dealing with emergencies on each camp and excursion.
All school staff will be aware that they retain overall responsibility for the supervision and care of students throughout all camps and excursions (including adventure activities), regardless of whether or not external providers are managing the activity.
In cases where a camp or excursion involves a particular class or year level group, the Organising Teacher will ensure that there is an alternative educational program available and appropriate supervision for those students not attending the camp or excursion.
Parents may be invited to assist in the supervision of school camps. These parents will be required to complete all paperwork required by the school. Any parent who applies to assist with a camp must provide a copy of their current Working With Children check, prior to being selected.
When deciding which parents will attend, the teacher in charge will take into account:
- any valuable skills the parents have to offer. e.g. bus licence, first aid etc.
- gender balance of adults.
- prior attendance at school camps - opportunity should be given to all parents.
For all camps and excursions, GWSPS will provide parents/carers with a specific consent form outlining the details of the proposed activity. GWSPS informs parents about school camps and excursions via Compass or student notice, asking parents/carers to return the part of the note that asks for parent’s/carer’s signature confirming they consent to their child’s participation. Parents/carers are encouraged to contact the school to discuss any questions or concerns that they or their child may have with a proposed camp.
Cost of camps and excursions, refunds and support
The cost of all camps and excursions are to be paid by parents/carers unless alternative arrangements have been agreed to by the Principal prior to the excursion. Parents will be notified of the exact costs and other relevant details of individual camps as soon as practicable, via the camp permission form. Costs for staff replacement will be included in the camp costs.
All families will be given sufficient time to make payments for individual camps. Children whose parents have not paid deposits by the due date or who do not make full payment by the due date, and who have not made alternative arrangements with the Business Manager or Principal, will not be eligible to attend. GWSPS will make all efforts to ensure that students are not excluded for financial reasons. Families experiencing financial difficulty are invited to discuss alternative payment arrangements with the Business Manager.
A portion of the cost of each camp will be non-refundable. This will be clearly stated on the permission form.
If a camp or excursion is cancelled or altered by the school, or a student is no longer able to attend part or all of the camp or excursion, our school will consider requests for partial or full refunds of payments made by parents/carers on a case-by-case basis taking into account the individual circumstances. Generally we will not be able to refund payments made for costs that have already been paid where those funds have already been transferred or committed to a third party and no refund is available to the school. Where possible, we will provide information about refunds to parents/carers at the time of payment.
Where a child is withdrawn from the camp program prior to its commencement, any reimbursement of camp fees will be made only if notification of non-attendance is made by the family, in writing by the date determined by the camp organisers and the school. This date will be included in information sent to parents. Reimbursement after this date will be at the discretion of the Business Manager in consultation with the Principal.
The Business Manage can also discuss family eligibility for the Department’s Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF), which provides payments for eligible students to attend school activities, including camps and excursions. Applications for the CSEF are open to families holding a valid means-tested concession card or temporary foster parents and are facilitated by the school. Further information about the CSEF and the application form are available at Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund.
Parents and carers need to ensure the school has up-to-date student health information prior to camps and excursions. A member of staff will be appointed with responsibility for the health needs of the students for each camp/excursion. Teachers will administer any medication provided according to our Medication policy and the student’s signed Medication Authority Form. To meet the school’s obligations relating to safety, a first aid kit and mobile phone will be taken by teachers on all camps and excursions.
It is the responsibility of parents and carers to ensure their child/children are in good health when attending excursions and camps. If a student becomes ill during a camp and is not able to continue at camp it is the parent/carer’s responsibility to collect them and cover any associated costs. If the Principal approves a student joining a camp late, transport to the camp is the parent/carer’s responsibility. Any costs associated with student injury rest with parents/carers unless the Department is liable in negligence (liability is not automatic).
Unless otherwise indicated, GWSPS and the Department do not provide student accident or ambulance cover. Parents/carers may wish to obtain student accident insurance cover and/or ambulance cover, depending on their health insurance arrangements and any other personal considerations.
Students participating in camps and excursions are required to cooperate and display appropriate behaviour to ensure the camp or excursion is a safe, positive and educational experience for all students involved.
Parents/carers will be notified if their child is in danger of losing the privilege to participate in an excursion or camp due to behaviour that does not meet the standards of behaviour set out in the school’s Student Engagement and Inclusion Policy The decision to exclude a student will be made by the Principal or Assistant Principal, in consultation with the Organising Teacher. Both the parent/carer and the student will be informed of this decision prior to the camp or excursion.
If on a camp or excursion the Teacher in Charge considers an individual student's behaviour does not meet required standards, then the Principal or their nominee may determine that a student should return home during the camp or excursion. In these circumstances the parent/carer is responsible for the collection of the student and any costs associated with this. Disciplinary measures apply to students on camps and excursions consistent with our school’s Student Engagement and Inclusion Policy, Student Code of Conduct and Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy.
Further information and resources
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following Department polices and guidelines:
- School Policy and Advisory Guide:
- Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors
- Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund.
- Code Red Days
The following school policies are also relevant to this Camps and Excursions Policy:
- Statement of Values and School Philosophy
- Student Engagement and Inclusion Policy
- Child Safety Policy
- Child Safety Code of Conduct
- Volunteer Policy
- Visitors Policy
- Duty of Care Policy
- Parent Payment Policy
- Excursions and Incursions Policy
This policy was endorsed on 7/10/2020 and is scheduled for review in October 2023.